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News in Brief - june 2011


NETFLIX chief content officer Ted Sarandos — who credits disc for helping Netflix make its foray into streaming — says the subscription rental service plans to turn its focus back to physical distribution, reports Home Media Magazine. Speaking at the Nomura US Media Summit in New York, the executive said Netflix had been obsessed with streaming to the point that physical rental was “calmly running on its own” and taken for granted. Sarandos said the value proposition of Netflix’s disc programmes (which include streaming) remains so strong for the foreseeable future that management plans to revisit all facets of the business.

3D BELAMI, the first true 3D Blu-ray gay adult title has just been released. It was shot entirely in original 3D on location in Ibiza, Spain, and is available as a 2-disc DVD/3DBD combo pack. "The fact that this title was shot entirely in 3D and is being released on DVD and Blu-ray shows our commitment to DVD,” said a BelAmi publicist.

NINTENDO CEO Satoru Iwata confirmed At the Electronic Entertainment Expo at Los Angeles last week, that the new Wii U will not include DVD or Blu-ray playback. Nintendo’s current Wii console doesn’t support DVD or Blu-ray playback either. “The reason for that is that we feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray, such that it didn’t warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U because of the patents related to that technology,” Iwata said.

ROVI and LG Electronics have signed multi-year licencing agreements that expand their relationship and provide further integration of DivX technology into a wider range of consumer electronics devices. LG’s latest agreements support its plans to continue to promote the technology on devices beyond Blu-ray Disc players, to ultimately include HDTVs, in-car players, set-top boxes, tablets and mobile phones.

WARNER Bros. confirmed it has laid off 50 people at its Burbank studio in response to sinking DVD sales. The cuts represented 1 percent of the company's US workforce, but the Los Angeles Times noted Saturday Warner was the fourth studio to make or plan to make such reductions in their respective home entertainment divisions. Disney, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox are also making staff reductions totaling nearly 300 positions.

POLICE have closed down one of France’s most popular websites for downloading pirated content and arrested three men who ran it. Liberty Land, set up in September 2009, was one of the most visited sites in France, claiming 800,000 users accessing and sharing pirated music, films and software. Released pending trial, they risk five years in prison and a fine of €500,000. The arrests come at the end of a year-long probe after a music copyright protection body tracked a contributor to the site to Rennes.

HIGHLY-regarded specialist blog BD-Live News is pulling the plug in view of dwindling visitors. “There simply are no Studios enabling new discs with worthwhile BD-Live features,” laments the editor. “Those that do, like HBO with True Blood – The Second Season, simply discontinue them after sales taper off. Eventually, we at BD-Live News are going to run out of existing discs to survey.”

FORMER US senator Christopher Dodd, the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America has praised Alibaba.com, the world’s largest B2B e-commerce website, a Beijing-based company part owned by giant US web portal Yahoo, for halting its sale of discs that contain pirated movies and music. The head of Hollywood’s leading lobby group applauded Alibaba’s ban of the listing on its websites of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs with audio visual content as major step in the fight against intellectual property theft in China.

SAMSUNG Electronics said it has signed an agreement for its LCD TV sets to incorporate 3D technology that uses the inexpensive cinema glasses from RealD for full resolution viewing. RealD Consumer Electronics President Bob Mayson said, “3D displays should not compromise image quality by degrading resolution; it’s simply not the premium viewing experience consumers have come to expect from 3D. By working with Samsung to integrate active-shutter technology on the panel, these displays deliver a full resolution 3D experience with the convenience and familiarity of RealD 3D cinema eyewear.”